Sunday, December 17, 2017
News Roundup

Undercover officers break up gun and drug operation near Gibsonton Elementary School

TAMPA — A consignment shop across the street from an elementary school was the site of repeated illegal gun and drug sales, Hillsborough Sheriff David Gee said Tuesday announcing the results of a monthslong investigation.

The inquiry began in July, leading to 10 arrests and three arrest warrants, said Gee, who formed a task squad in 2010 to go after felons with illegal guns.

Those arrested include 10 convicted felons who sold 34 firearms and 49 silencers to undercover detectives, deputies said.

Responding to a July tip from a confidential informant, undercover officers bought guns and drugs from inside a consignment shop, Gee said. The store, at 7724 Gibsonton Drive, was less than 175 feet from Gibsonton Elementary School. Most of the transactions occurred after school hours, deputies said.

The consignment shop did not appear to be directly involved in the crimes, Gee said during a news conference on Tuesday.

The store "drew a cadre of characters," Gee said. "Most of the deals were made independent of the shop." Gee did not say if the shop's owner was aware of the gun sales.

Officers recovered weapons including AR-15 semiautomatic rifles, AK-47 assault rifles, sawed-off shotguns, sniper rifles with night vision and silencers, as well as prescription drugs, crack cocaine and methamphetamine.

"With all this national debate that's going on, this comes down to the issue of how do we keep guns out of the hands of convicted felons and how do we keep guns out of the hands of people that are mentally ill and don't have the capacity to have a firearm," Gee said.

The Sheriff's Office is working to trace the guns. Many are missing serial numbers and appear to be stolen, he said. Deputies said they expected to pursue "enhanced charges" against some of those arrested because the crimes occurred next to an elementary school.

"What's significant about this case is the caliber of individuals we're dealing with," Gee said. "These guys are sometimes seven-time convicted felons who are out trading these guns on the street."

Mark Ober, Hillsborough state attorney, said his office would be "vigilant" in following them through the criminal justice system.

"Obviously," he said "When we have convicted felons with firearms near schools, places of assembly in particular, that's troubling."

In 2012, 118 felons with firearms were arrested in Hillsborough County, and deputies impounded 1,500 guns.

Keeley Sheehan may be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Why Jon Gruden was the best mistake the Bucs ever made

Why Jon Gruden was the best mistake the Bucs ever made

Warren Sapp pointed to the sky. And then he dropped Kurt Warner to the ground.The Bucs had just intercepted Warner for the fourth time. Sapp’s block cleared the way for Derrick Brooks to cross the goal line and clinch the win.Before Tampa Bay p...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Motorcyclist, 24, dead after Lutz crash

LUTZ — A 24-year-old motorcyclist died Sunday after she crashed near Lutz Lake Fern Road and Apian Way, Hillsborough deputies reported.The unnamed woman was trying to pass vehicles in a no-passing zone about 9:15 a.m., according to a Hillsborough Cou...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Florida mayor resigns after arrest for using dead peoples’ disabled parking permits

Florida mayor resigns after arrest for using dead peoples’ disabled parking permits

DAVENPORT, Fla. (AP) — The mayor of a small Florida town arrested for using dead peoples’ disabled parking permits to park at city hall has resigned.The Bradenton Herald reports that Teresa Bradley resigned and was given six-months of probation as pa...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Woman, 24, hit by Land Rover, in critical condition

LARGO — A 24-year-old woman is in critical condition after she was struck by a vehicle Saturday night, police said.Khadijah Wood was walking through the parking lot of the Sandy Lane Apartment Homes on Belcher Road about 7:30 p.m.At the same time, Ju...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Warm, sunny Sunday in Tampa Bay

ST. PETERSBURG — It’s another bright, sunny day in Tampa Bay. 10News WTSPThe latest Tampa Bay-area radar 10News WTSPFeels-like temperatures around the Tampa Bay areaHigh temperatures should reach about 80 d...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Murder suspect is on the run after fatally shooting a father, cops say

Murder suspect is on the run after fatally shooting a father, cops say

A first-degree murder suspect remains at large almost a week after the fatal shooting of a Winter Haven father.The Polk County Sheriff’s Office says Johnny Ray Owsley’s murder of 35-year-old Adam Thrower, called "Cook" by friends, involved Owsley’s e...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Lightning wins at Avalanche with four-goal second period

Lightning wins at Avalanche with four-goal second period

DENVER — The Lightning left for Las Vegas Saturday for the first of four nights in Sin City.But Tampa Bay’s first regret came before it boarded the charter flight; the Lighting lamented making Saturday’s 6-5 win over the Avalanche much more thrilling...
Published: 12/16/17
Updated: 12/17/17

Bucs’ Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David out for Monday’s game vs. Falcons

TAMPA — As if containing All-Pro Julio Jones and the Falcons offense isn’t challenging enough, the Bucs will try to do so Monday night without perhaps their top defensive players, tackle Gerald McCoy and linebacker Lavonte David.On Saturday, Bucs coa...
Published: 12/16/17
Trump defends tax plan, proclaims economy set ‘to rock’

Trump defends tax plan, proclaims economy set ‘to rock’

WASHINGTON — Closing in on the first major legislative achievement of his term, President Donald Trump on Saturday defended the Republican tax cut as a good deal for the middle class while boldly suggesting it could lead to explosive economic growth....
Published: 12/16/17
Aquarium reopens to divers

Aquarium reopens to divers

Florida Keys News BureauVisitors to Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters dive with among indigenous Keys fish Friday in Marathon. The attraction reopened Friday after closing just before Hurricane Irma hit the Florida Keys on Sept. 10. Although tourism f...
Published: 12/16/17